Have you ever caught yourself in a situation where you needed to just chill out and relax, but you weren’t sure how? Maybe you were waiting for a job interview or in the dentist’s chair. We wanted to find ways to relax in any situation, so we reached out to Jeanie Jones, Licensed Behavioral Practitioner, Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a Certified Employee Assistance Professional. Here’s what she had to say about ways to de-stress and relax anytime, anywhere:
Q. Are there quick techniques that you could recommend for relieving tension in stressful situations?
Jeanie: Practice relaxation breathing anytime you feel stressed and upset and before you react. Use it when you cannot fall asleep, whenever you are aware of internal tension.
– Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
– Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
– Hold your breath for a count of seven.
– Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
– This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Q. What are some longer-term strategies for dealing with stress?
Keep your life clear. Deal with situations as they come up. Don’t let things “build up.” Talk things over with a trusted friend, clergy, or therapist.
Change your routines so you don’t expose yourself to stressful situations, such as shopping at a time when the stores aren’t as busy, do online banking to avoid long lines, leave for work 15 minutes early to avoid traffic problems, lay out your clothes, prepare lunches the night before, plan meals in advance, budget your money, and live within your means.
Take care of your body and mind. Get regular massages to relieve tension.
Q. How much does stress really affect our health?
Jeanie: When we don’t deal with stress, we can become distressed. This can lead to headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and trouble sleeping, which can cause memory and concentration problems and can lead to lowered immune system and can cause or exacerbate other diseases and illnesses.
Q. Should stress management be an important part of a daily routine?
Jeanie: Absolutely! Yoga, deep breathing, journaling, practicing mindfulness, meditation, and prayer are all on-going ways to manage stress that can be done in 10 to 60 minutes.
Q. What are some things that people forget to do if they are trying to deal with a stressful situation?
Jeanie: BREATHE! Sometimes we actually “hold our breath” when under stress or threat. By practicing deep breathing during these moments of stress, we can think more clearly, slow down our thoughts, and respond more appropriately. When we do this, we have more of an opportunity to resolve the situation, thus not letting stress build up.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, from a friend or a professional, if it is a chronic situation or one we cannot manage on our own.
Say “NO” when you are out of time or resources, especially if you are a “care-taker” by profession or personality. You can’t take care of anyone else if you haven’t taken care of yourself.
No one likes being worried or stressed out. If you’ve ever needed some relaxation ideas for a stressful situation, hopefully these tips can provide some guidance.
Jeanie Jones provides individual counseling, business training and other counseling services. She is a Licensed Behavioral Practitioner, (LBP), Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) and a Certified Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP). You can visit her website at JeanieJones.com. Find her on Facebook.com/jeaniejonesokc or on Twitter.com/jeaniejonesokc.
Paige Estigarribia is a writer for The Dollar Stretcher who enjoys writing about food, frugal living, and money-saving tips. Visit The Dollar Stretcher.com website for more low-cost ways to reduce stress.